On 5th February 2021, Iran was reported to have conducted its surgical strikes inside the territory of Pakistan successfully. Iran however, goes on to become the third country to carry out such a manner of the tactical strike that was followed by a massive covert operation, which was led by crossing over a 959-kilometre border between the 2 countries. It is after the United States Navy Seals’ Operation Neptune Spear conducted on 2nd May 2011 to initiate the killing of Osama Bin Laden at Abbottabad in Pakistan, then Indian Army PARA SF’s Surgical Strikes on potential terror outfits at the Pak.
Occupied Kashmir (PoK) following the post-Uri base camp terror strikes on 28th-29th September 2016 and then Airstrikes by Indian Air Force at Balakot in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan on 27th February 2019 following the IED attack at Pulwama in India that martyred 42 soldiers.
The situation comes after an embarrassment that has remained left out due to the failure of Pakistani Intelligence to gather any type of outputs. This paved the way towards taking advantage of the situation that led Iran to infiltrate into the territory of Pakistan and conduct its surgical strikes. Through this strike, Iran was able to successfully free 2 out of the 10 soldiers of the elite IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps) who were captured and detained for 2 and a half years.
The rest 10 soldiers were previously released due to the imposition of severe diplomatic pressure by Tehran, as of November 2018 and the rest four soldiers were rescued by the Pakistan Army and released on March 21st, 2019. These outcomes came as a result of many efforts that were taken; the most important of them was the formation of a committee that worked towards demanding the release of these guards. However, one of the 12 guards died in the state of abduction.
The main brainchild of the abduction was carried out by a Pakistan-led Wahabi- terror group named ‘Jaish-ul Adl’ which captured these soldiers in 2018 October and kept them in a town named Merkava in the Sistan-Baluchistan Province situated at the border of the 2 countries. This was the same group that had captured Kulbhushan Jadhav and handed him over to the ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence Agency) of Pakistan.
But, according to various other sources, there are a lot of means and ways that are being found upon. This incident has not been given any importance and viewed with much seriousness by the media of Pakistan. As most of their channels are up to the mark of claiming that there was no such incident of struggle or direct action that took place between the armies of the two countries and thereby it claims that the manner of operation is still unknown.
The attack was mostly carried out as a means of retaliation from the end of the Elite Revolutionary Guard Corps of Iran. But, there is the Baluchistan factor that is cropping out of this attack.
The entire Baluchistan spans as a massive province that lies within the geographical proximity of the 3 countries; Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, whereas it has a strong population of people who are followers of the Sunni sect of Islam. This group which has been linked to the incident is a militant organization that also operates in the South Eastern part of Iran’s Sistan-Baluchistan Province along the Iran-Pakistan border.
However, in comparison to the entire ethnic population of Iran, the demography of this province falls to be a minority to the whole. So, these people are generally not treated with the desired respect as a citizen deserves to be treated like, both in Iran and Pakistan. For the last 50 years, these people have been subjected to massive suppression along with the least amount of economic development and benefits to poor security. Thereafter, their main aim is towards waging a revolution against the Iranian government on matters relating to the protection of human rights of the ethnic Baloch people in Iran.
But the group Jaish-ul Adl which abducted the soldiers is classified as a terrorist organization by Tehran, but it had not been done so by Pakistan. In terms of other international recognitions, it has been recognized as a terrorist organization by Japan, the United States, and New Zealand. The group ‘Jaish-ul Adl’ has been accused by the Iranian Government for some major terrorist attacks, such as a suicide bombing in April 2017 and another one in 2018 at the port city of Chabahar, where India’s concerns also got tested in terms of the factor that this group was being backed by the ISI to carry out such strikes.
This situation comes as a matter of an offensive move by Iran led by a message through which it tries to convey to the entire world that, Tehran would like to pursue an independent foreign policy. When at this same time Iran’s Defence Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami had scheduled his visit to attend the Aero India Show 2021 in Bangalore, India. It comes for the first time in 40 years of Indo-Iranian relations when a defence ministerial level has been conducted to India.
This visit fuelled a prospect of going ahead with much better and further strategic ties between the two countries’ armed forces. At this time when both countries had to deal with a neighbour who is a common potential enemy and threat to each other’s territorial integrity, peace, and sovereignty, his visit also comes with a message of balancing New Delhi’s relations with West Asia as a part of the meeting of the First Conclave of Defence Ministers in the Indian Ocean Region.
During the Presidency of Donald Trump, both Iran and India had to face the effects of sanctions and embargoes. As those have been lifted after the swearing-in of President Joe Biden in the United States, this comes as an opportunity for Iran to take its diplomatic and strategic relations forward in the forms of military and trade ties.
Iran’s Defence Minister, Brigadier General Hatami replied in an interview to Nitin A. Gokhale the Editor-in-chief of Strat. News Global, where he said that;
“Despite the fact of whoever is in power at Washington DC, they will have some imperial links led by arrogance upon other nations, which is a problem of the US administration and system. The Trump administration had waged an economic war upon Iran and thereby, if the US system has to change its attitude, it will need to return to the foundations of international treaties and respect the rights of other nations”.
However, this surgical strike by Iran can be understood as an indication of the fact the country is in the path of following a supreme and independent foreign policy with looking forwards to release its nuclear program and ensure to retaliate in case if its sovereignty is attacked by any other state or non-state actors.